“The Gin Game” Begins Previews on Broadway

A Great Two-Hander Revived at the John Golden Theatre

the gin gameOn September 23, 2015, The Gin Game began previews at the John Golden Theatre on Broadway. The official opening night will take place on October 14, 2015. Presently, the show is scheduled to run for a limited engagement that will close on January 10, 2016. This two-hander by D.L. Coburn had its world premiere in Los Angeles in September 1976, before transferring to Broadway in 1978. That year, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. In 1997, the play was revived on Broadway, and it was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play. The play has been adapted twice for television, once in 1981 starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy (who starred in the original Broadway production directed by Mike Nichols), and once in 2003 starring Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. This 2015 Broadway revival is directed by Leonard Foglia, whose previous Broadway directorial credits include the 2011 Roundabout Theatre Company production of The People in the Picture, the 2008 play Thurgood, the 2005 production of On Golden Pond, the 1998 production of Wait Until Dark, the 1995 production of Master Class, and the 1989 production of The Heidi Chronicles.

James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Star As Nursing Home Companionsthe gin game

The play has only two charcters: Weller Martin (played by James Earl Jones), and Fonsia Dorsey (played by Cicely Tyson). These individuals are elderly residents of a nursing home who do not have any friends, until they meet each other. They friendship takes the form of regular games of gin rummy, with Weller teaching Fonsia how to play. However, Fonsia always wins, and at a certain point it can no longer be chalked up to beginner’s luck. While Weller becoming more and more frustrated, Fonsia becomes more and more confident. The friendly games quickly become competitive, and the competition extends beyond the games of gin rummy, as they attempt to expose each other’s weaknesses and thoroughly humiliate one another – to the delight of the audience. James Earl Jones is one of America’s most versatile and distinguished actors. In addition to a well known career on screen in such films as Dr. Strangelove, The Great White Hope, Claudine, Coming to America, and the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars, Jones has also appeared on Broadway on many occasions. His stage performances include such shows as You Can’t Take It With You, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, Driving Miss Daisy, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, On Golden Pond, and Master Harold and the Boys. Cicely Tyson has had as distinguished of a career. Her Broadway roles include such shows as The Trip to Bountiful, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Actress, as well as The Corn is Green, Trumpets of the Lord, Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights, and A Hand Is on the Gate.

Reuniting Director and Actor from “On Golden Pond”

Leonard Foglia last directed James Earl Jones in the 2005 production of On Golden Pond, written by Ernest Thompson. At that time, Jones played opposite Leslie Uggams in an African American revival of the 1979 play. The play has some similarities to The Gin Game, as it also deals with an aging couple. In On Golden Pond, however, the couple is married and the drama arises when their daughter comes to visit them. In The Gin Game, the drama lies in the tension that arises between former strangers who live together by happenstance in a nursing home. Still, Leonard Foglia and James Earl Jones must have established a good rapport in their 2005 rendez-vous, and this production of The Gin Game will be all the tighter for the experience within the creative team.

Broadway Trip to Bountiful Coming to Lifetime TV

Cicely Tyson

Cicely Tyson

The Broadway revival of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful may have closed back in October, but those who missed it will get the chance to experience a version of that production in a forthcoming television film version to air on the Lifetime network in 2014.

Cicely Tyson, who won a Tony Award for her performance as Carrie Watts on Broadway, will reprise her role in the TV movie. Her Broadway co-star Vanessa Williams will also revive her part, and they will perform under the direction of their Broadway helmer, Michael Wilson. New to the television cast are Blair Underwood and Keke Palmer.

This new TV version of The Trip to Bountiful brings the play full circle, as it originally premiered as a teleplay in 1953 (going on to be performed as a Broadway play later that year).

The Trip to Bountiful on Broadway Closes Tonight

The Trip To Bountiful Broadway ShowThe Broadway revival of The Trip to Bountiful ends its run at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre today. The play first premiered on Broadway in 1953 in the very same spot, back when it was known as Henry Miller’s Theatre.

Written by the late Horton Foote, The Trip to Bountiful debuted as a televised play on NBC a few months before opening on Broadway. It is also well-known from its 1985 film version starring Geraldine Page, who won an Oscar for her performance.

This latest production starred Cicely Tyson as Carrie Watts, the elderly woman who slips away from her son and daughter-in-law’s cramped Houston home and takes a bus to see her beloved hometown of Bountiful one last time. When it opened, the production co-starred Cuba Gooding Jr., Vanessa Williams, and Condola Rashad.

This production closed with a respectful $673,002 of ticket sales  in its last week, with over 87% of the theatre seats sold, totaling 6474 patrons paying an average of $103.95 per ticket. The show ran for 178 performances that opened on April 23 2013 following previews that began March 30 2013 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre at 124 West 43rd Street, New York City

The show was nominated for four Tony Awards, including:
Best Actress in a Play (Cicely Tyson),
Best Featured Actress in a Play (Condola Rashad),
Best Sound Design for a Play (John Gromada)
Best Revival of a Play.

Tyson won the Tony Award for her performance as Mother Carrie Watts.

Broadway’s Trip To Bountiful Extends Until October

The Trip To Bountiful Broadway ShowThe Trip to Bountiful will last a little longer now that the new production of Horton Foote’s play is extending into the fall. Originally scheduled as a strictly limited engagement set to end on July 7, the Tony Award nominated revival was extended until September 1. But this latest extension means that it is now going to play through
October 9.

The extension gives audiences plenty of time to catch Cicely Tyson in the role that won her a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award this season. She is joined onstage at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre by Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Vanessa Williams (TV’s Ugly Betty), and Best Featured Actress Tony nominee Condola Rashad.

The Trip to Bountiful tells the story of an elderly woman, Carrie Watts, who sneaks away from her son and daughter-in-law to return back to her old hometown of Bountiful, Texas.

Cuba Gooding, Jr., Vanessa Williams To Be on Broadway This Spring

Cuba Gooding Jr. red carpet gray suitA starry cast is gathering for The Trip to Bountiful, which is coming to Broadway’s Stephen Sondheim Theatre this Spring. As already announced, Cicely Tyson will take the lead role of Carrie Watts, an older woman who yearns to return to her hometown of Bountiful, Texas. It is now confirmed, though, that she will be joined by two other stars, Cuba Gooding, Jr. (Jerry Maguire, Red Tails) and Vanessa Williams (Broadway’s Into the Woods, TV’s 666 Park Avenue), along with up-and-comer Condola Rashad (a standout in the recent Broadway play Stick Fly).

Cuba Gooding, Jr. will play Carrie Watts’ overprotective son, and Vanessa Williams will be her domineering daughter-in-law in this revival of the Horton Foote-penned drama. The Trip to Bountiful is set to play a strictly limited 14-week run, which will begin on March 31, 2013 with preview performances, and then have its official opening on April 23.

Cicely Tyson Coming Back to Broadway

Cicely Tyson

Award-winning actress Cicely Tyson (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Sounder) will be coming back to the Broadway stage for the first time in 30 years in a new production of Horton Foote’s play The Trip to Bountiful, which will begin a limited 14-week run on March 31, 2013 at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.  The production will be directed by Michael Wilson.

Cicely Tyson will take on the role of Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who hopes to return to her hometown of Bountiful, Texas, but finds resistance in the form of her over-protective son and daughter-in-law.  “In many ways Broadway is my Bountiful,” stated Tyson, “and I’m eager and honored to return with this strong, passionate, and funny character in a timeless American classic.”

Tyson was last seen on Broadway in the 1983 revival of The Corn is Green.  Among her many other Broadway credits are Trumpets of the Lord, The Cool World, and Jolly’s Progress.  Cicely Tyson’s TV credits include the acclaimed mini-series Roots and her film credits include The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Fried Green Tomatoes, Madea’s Family Reunion, and The Help.